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SOCIAL JUSTICE EDUCATION

SJE Constitution

 

Department of Social Justice Education

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto

 

CONSTITUTION

Approved by the Governance Committee, Staff Caucus, Students’ Caucus and

Faculty Caucus in October 2015

 

1.           Principles

                1.1.    The Department of Social Justice Education is committed to the general principles of shared governance, mutual care and respect, and transparency and accountability. It aims to embody in all its academic and administrative operations the social justice principles that are the focus of its research, teaching, and service.

                1.2.    We understand that the multifarious nature of social justice education and its concomitant openness to diverse perspectives shall require a pluralistic department.

                1.3.    Central to shared governance is the meaningful representation and responsible participation of all three constituencies – faculty members, administrative staff members, and students – in departmental deliberation and decision-making processes as related to academic and governance matters.

                1.4.    Working within broader university and societal structures and cultures of hierarchies, the department is mindful of inequitable power relations and dynamics within and across the different constituencies that may inform, influence, and impact deliberations and decisions. To the best of our individual and collective capacities, the department shall work to challenge inequities, to recognize diverse competencies, and to create inclusive space.

                1.5.    To challenge inequities and foster inclusion, all deliberation and decision-making processes shall be free from victimization, intimidation, character defamation, and/or discrimination based on racism, sexism, disableism, heteronormativity, ageism, classism, and/or other forms of prejudice.

               1.6.    While each constituency may have varying goals and priorities, decisions ought to be made with a view towards the advancement of the department’s research, teaching, and service mission as a whole.

               1.7.    To reach these goals, open and consistent communication and consultation are integral to departmental norms and procedures.

2.         Definitions

In this Constitution:

2.1.      “SJE” stands for the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

2.2.      “OISE” stands for the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

2.3.      “Faculty member” means a member of the OISE academic staff who holds an appointment in SJE of approximately 50% or greater. This includes academic staff members at the tenured and tenure research stream ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Full Professor; at the teaching stream ranks of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer; and Limited Term Appointment Lecturers with service responsibilities in their contracts.

2.4.      “Staff member” means any OISE administrative employee with a continuing appointment of approximately 50% or greater, or with an appointment of at least 9 months at approximately 50% or greater, who is employed in SJE. Should the staff member also be a student (as noted in Section 2.5), the individual shall be a voting representative in the SJE Council (see Section 5) for only one constituency (staff or student) for the period of representation.

2.5.      “Student” means any person continuing in one of the SJE graduate degree programs (M.Ed., M.A., Ph.D., or Ed.D.), full-time, part-time, or flexible-time.

3.         Authority from The University of Toronto and of The Office of Chair

3.1.      The Chair and the department’s designated administrative entities exercise their responsibilities under the authority of the University of Toronto Act (1971), as amended, the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, and the Graduate Education Council of the School of Graduate Studies.

3.2.      Per University of Toronto’s Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators (2003) under The Office of Chair, “The Chair of a department in a departmentalized faculty is the chief executive officer of the department and reports directly to the Dean. While the Chair may elect to delegate authority to other academic administrators in the department, he/she must retain responsibility for the overall direction of the department and in particular for authority over the budget and recommendations for appointments and, where appropriate, promotions. The Chair shall consult with the members of the department on matters of policy and practice as outlined in (5) [included as Section 3.3 in this Constitution], but is ultimately responsible for all administrative decisions that are within his/her jurisdiction and authority.”

3.3.     Per University of Toronto’s Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators (2003), point 5 under The Office of Chair, “In the development and implementation of departmental policy, the Chair shall seek the advice of the department expressed through either a representative committee or meetings of the department. In so doing, the Chair will be guided by the constitution of the department. The division of duties between these two bodies may be expected to vary but in general such matters as program changes should be discussed and approved by the department, while confidential matters should be discussed with a representative committee of teaching staff... There should be regularly scheduled meetings of a representative committee and of the department.”

3.4.      The Department of Social Justice Education respects and supports the mandate of the Office of Chair as the department’s academic and administrative leader. SJE also considers the Chair as its advocate who shall advance the department’s research, teaching, and service mission as a whole and shall serve as the voice of the department’s faculty, staff and student constituencies. Hence, the Chair shall represent the shared interests and account for the wellbeing of the entire department.

3.5.      The Department of Social Justice Education shall employ two designated administrative entities – the SJE Council (see Section 4 below) and the SJE Executive Team (see Section 5 below) – as the main governing bodies of the department. SJE shall consider the decisions made in these entities as shared interests of faculty, staff and student constituencies, and shall empower the Chair to convey such decisions to the OISE Dean and relevant university offices, as appropriate.

4.         SJE Council

4.1.      The SJE Council shall be the highest decision-making entity for the department.

4.2.      The mandate of the SJE Council is to make effective and inclusive decisions regarding policy, governance, academic planning, and routine matters, with a view towards the advancement of the department’s research, teaching, and service mission as a whole.

4.3.      The term of office of the SJE Council shall be one year in length, normally from July 1 to June 30, for those in elected positions.

4.4.      The SJE Council shall normally meet monthly, or as needed, during the Academic Year (July 1 to June 30), but not less than twice during each regular term (Fall term: September to December; Winter term: January to April).

4.5.      The members of the SJE Council shall be:

4.5.a.   All SJE faculty members, as noted in Section 2.3, who are not on leave and who shall sit on the SJE Council as part of their service responsibility. The serving SJE faculty members shall be determined by the July 1st start of the SJE Council term of office.

4.5.b.   Two SJE staff members, as noted in Section 2.4. Their term of office shall be for one year.

             4.5.c.   Nine students, as noted in Section 2.5, consisting of four student executive officers from the SJE Student Caucus, and five      students from each of the SJE degree streams (M.Ed., M.A., Ph.D. fulltime, Ph.D. flextime, and Ed.D.) who shall be elected by the SJE         Student Caucus prior to October of the SJE Council term of office. Their term of office shall be for one year.

4.6.      A minimum of fifty percent of each set of faculty, staff, and student representatives in the SJE Council shall be regarded as quorum for the purpose of passing motions.

4.7.      When quorum is reached, a motion shall pass if a two-third majority of the SJE Council members present vote affirmatively.

4.8.      Each member of the SJE Council present, including the SJE Council Chair, shall be entitled to one vote. Only the SJE Council members present shall vote on any question or motion.

4.9.      Where the entirety (all) of the faculty vote is in agreement and constitutes the minority of a motion that is otherwise passed, the decision shall be deferred for further discussion in SJE Council.

4.10.    The Chair of the SJE Council shall be the Department Chair or Associate Chair, or their designate. The term of office for the SJE Council Chair shall be one year.

4.11.    The Secretary of the SJE Council shall be a non-voting member appointed by the Department Chair, and shall be the recording and corresponding officer of the SJE Council. Responsibilities shall include supporting the SJE Council Chair in agenda preparation and distribution, as well as minute taking and distribution.

4.12.    SJE Council meetings shall be run as follows:

4.12.a  Normally, meetings of the SJE Council shall be open to any member of the SJE Community (e.g., students, administrative staff members, and faculty emeritae/emeriti).

4.12.b  Observers may speak at open SJE Council meetings if invited to do so by the SJE Council Chair.

4.12.c  The SJE Council Chair, when calling a meeting, may indicate that the meeting, or a portion thereof, will be conducted in closed session. In a closed session, only voting members of the SJE Council and the Secretary may be present. This ruling shall be communicated in the notice of meeting.

4.12.d  Notice of regular meetings of SJE Council shall be electronically posted and communicated to SJE faculty, staff, and students.

4.12.e  The agenda shall be electronically posted and communicated to SJE faculty, staff, and students in advance of each meeting. The SJE Council Chair, in consultation with the Department Chair, Associate Chair, Graduate Coordinator, chairs of various departmental committees, a staff representative, and an elected representative of the Student Caucus shall develop the agenda. Any members of the SJE Community (SJE faculty, staff, and students) may submit items (confidentially, if requested) for inclusion on the agenda to the SJE Council Chair in advance of each meeting. The deadline for submission of items for the agenda shall normally be one week prior to the Council meeting.

4.12.f   Minutes of SJE Council meetings shall be kept and shall contain a record of pertinent points, discussions, decisions made, and actions taken. Approved minutes shall be electronically posted on a shared and secured space and communicated to SJE faculty, staff, and students.

5.         SJE Executive Team

5.1.      The mandate of the SJE Executive Team is to manage the routine affairs of running the department between meetings of the SJE Council.

5.2.      The term of office of the SJE Executive Team shall be from July 1 to June 30.

5.3.      The SJE Executive Team shall meet, as needed, during the Academic Year (July 1 to June 30).

5.4.      The members of the SJE Executive Team shall be:

       5.4.a   Department Chair

       5.4.b   Associate Chair

       5.4.c   Graduate Coordinator

       5.4.d   One staff representative

 5.4.e   One student representative, normally one of the Co-Chairs of the SJE Student Association

6.         Departmental Committees

6.1.      The Department of Social Justice Education shall have Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees that serve in advisory capacity to the Chair, as stipulated by the University of Toronto’s Policy on Appointment of Academic Administrators.

6.2.      The SJE Standing Committees may include the following: Accessibility; Admissions; Awards and Scholarship; Curriculum and Programs; Events; and Promotion, Tenure and Review.

6.3.      Membership in SJE Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees shall reflect meaningful representation and responsible participation from faculty, staff and student constituencies of the department, commensurate to the purview and size of the committee.

6.4.      Departmental committees shall normally include SJE faculty, staff and students (as noted in Sections 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5), unless otherwise determined in exceptional circumstances by the SJE council.

7.         Amendment Procedures

7.1.      The Constitution of the Department of Social Justice Education may only be amended by a two-third majority of the SJE Council members present, once quorum is reached.

7.2.      Notice of any proposed amendment(s) to the Constitution shall be given to SJE Council members in advance of the meeting at which the amendment(s) will be considered.